miércoles, 17 de marzo de 2010
The secret of a long and happy sex life?
Be healthy and be a man
Men and women are living longer than ever before, but are they still having sex?
Yes, say researchers in the US, but how often, and how enjoyable it is depends partly on their gender and partly on their state of health.
The researchers, from the University of Chicago, have also come up with estimates for how many years of sexually active life we have ahead of us – and the answer is arguably more positive for men than for women.
At the age of 30, men can expect to be sexually active for another 35 years compared to just 31 years for women, while at age 55, men’s sexual life expectancy is 15 years, compared to 10 for women.
This isn’t as bad news for women as you might think, because the research also suggests that they are less likely to think a lack of sex is a problem.
In the research published on bmj.com today, authors Stacy Tessler Lindau and Natalia Gavrilova used data from two representative research groups in the US. One group consisted of over 3000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 74 and the other included over 3000 men and women between 57 and 85 years of age.
Participants provided information about their relationship status and rated the quality of their sex lives and how often they had sex. They also rated the level of their general health between poor and excellent.
The results reveal that men are more likely to be sexually active, report a good sex life and be interested in sex than women. This difference was most stark among the 75 to 85 year old group, where almost four out of ten males compared to less than two out of ten women were sexually active. The gender difference was less apparent when people were married or had a long term sexual partner.
While sexually active life expectancy was longer for men, they lost more years of it to poor health than women did.
The authors say that some questions remain unanswered. “Overall, the study found that men have a longer sexually active life expectancy and that most sexually active men report a good quality sex life. In contrast, only about half of sexually active women reported a good quality sex life. This disparity, and its implication for health, requires further exploration.”
They add that sexually active life expectancy estimation is a new life expectancy tool than can be used for projecting public health and patient needs in the arena of sexual health. “Projecting the population patterns of later life sexual activity is useful for anticipating need for public health resources, expertise and medical services.”
In an accompanying editorial, Professor Patricia Goodson from Texas University says the research is both refreshing and hopeful. She says: “the study bears good news in the form of hope … the news that adults in the US can enjoy many years of sexual activity beyond age 55 is promising.”
But she too adds that more research is needed, particularly in the use of sexually active life expectancy as a public health tool. “For example, the measure sheds no light on the intriguing—and still poorly understood—question of why, even though they enjoy fewer years of a sexually active life, many women do not perceive this as a ‘problem’,” she adds.